Friday, May 29, 2015

Manila Improv Festival 2015

I first watch an Improv performance during a launch event years ago by the group named Silly People's Improv Theater or SPIT for short. I also got to see a couple from the group hosting a bus tour around BGC which is really fun and entertaining. Since then, I became a fan.

On my way to the Improv launch, I was not ready for what was in store for us who are attending. We got a surprised welcome from the group who are anticipating our entrance. As I signed up, I was led by the group for a Pabitin(a parlor game where you grab a prize when it goes down while sitting on chair while they chant "One chance only."
SPIT's Gabe Mercado orients about Improv

After ordering our food and waiting for the cue, we did another game and it was like a scavenger hunt. Instead of finding an item, we were handed a piece of paper with written descriptions that suits any person inside the premises and have him/her sign it. It was not easy but not impossible. Whoever got to fill it up and submit it first, will be checked to verify every item before declared a winner.

As soon as we got our food, we were oriented about SPIT and Improv and what they do in an actual improv. SPIT is not what you call a traditional theater group. They may have a simulation or rehearsal but it still depends on how spontaneous they can get. The first thing they do is to use suggestions from the audience.

One suggestion is getting the audience to participate. Just like what we did on a bus tour, we completed the alphabet by giving an example using a specific topic. After completing the alphabet, they will use a words from that alphabet to form a story.

Another way to get a suggestion is to get some audience to participate with the group. Just like I did during the launch, each of us will complete a sentence with a specific theme. You will be surprised how many words everyone can think of when playing this game.

The Improv Festival didn't just include theater guilds across the country but also international. The festival already held as far as Dumaguete and in other countries with existing Improv guilds. During the launch, we got to chat with different improv groups from Tokyo and Beijing who are just as excited to be here for the festival.

I think this festival will not just boost international partnerships but also build mutual understanding between cultures and diversities as well as sharing experiences of between improv groups. The Manila Improv Festival will be on July 2 to 12 in two venues. Silliman University for the Tropical Improv Camp from July 2 to 5 and 8 to 12 at PETA for all performances.

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